Information for teams

Please read the infomation below, and the tournament guidelines, to find out more about the tournament format and structure and, if you are a coach, your role. Please also download the Debate Handbook and refer to this throughout the tournament. There are also marking sheets available for judges.

The tournament usually starts around November, with first rounds held throughout the country (competing teams have come from the Western Isles right down to the Borders). A maximum of 128 teams take part in the tournament. The first and second rounds take place locally, hosted by a school in the area, and within easy travelling distance wherever possible. The first round is normally held end November/start December. The second round is usually held around the end of January/start of February.

Semi finals take place in March. These have a slightly different format. Unlike the earlier rounds, the motion is not given out in advance but when teams arrive at the competition venue. They then have an hour to prepare - although the motion and judging take into account that this is an impromptu debate. Teams that have reached this stage have had enough practise in earlier rounds to be well prepared for this slightly different format.

Our tournament guidelines provide further information on everything you need to know, including:

  • structure of the tournament and an individual heat
  • timekeeping issues
  • the roles of speakers
  • offering and taking 'points of information'
  • judging guidelines and marking standards
  • room layouts
  • guidance for hosts (including a tick box check sheet of what to organise)
  • guidance for chairpersons